WHAT were hairstyles like four decades ago?

It was the start of the 80s, the decade of Big Hair – huge, sweeping Heather Locklear locks for the ladies, alarming mullets and mohawks for the men.

The dos may have changed (thank goodness) but here in Glasgow, the largest hairdressing group in the country remains a force to be reckoned with.

Glasgow Times:

The first Rainbow Room International opened on Buchanan Street in 1979.

Run by husband and wife team Alan and Linda Stewart, it has grown from strength to strength, winning a plethora of awards and accolades.

For Alan, marking the 40th anniversary of his business is quite a milestone.

“I feel extremely proud,” he says.

Glasgow Times:

“In some ways it seems as if it was yesterday and gone in a flash, but as everyone knows, it is down to learning, education and meticulous planning.

“It has been an incredible journey, which Linda and I are still enjoying.”

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Linda joined forces with Alan in 1984 when, aged 23, she opened the second Rainbow Room on Royal Exchange Square.

There are now 12 Rainbow Room salons around the country, from Ayr to Bearsden – many of the franchisee owners have been with the company since the beginning, starting as apprentices and working up to owners, managing their own teams.

Glasgow Times:

In 1983, the Stewarts launched Rainbow Room International Academy, to provide training courses and apprenticeship schemes to stylists and students from across the UK.

The Academy continues to attract hairdressing professionals from around Britain and overseas.

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Rainbow Rooms was one of the first hairdressing salons in the UK to introduce shiatsu massage and the company set up Glasgow’s first ‘day spa’ beauty salon.

Its artistic team travels the world delivering shows and seminars, and its photographic collections have been published in numerous international magazines.

Glasgow Times:

An annual congress and awards ceremony, which recently took place to mark the 40th anniversary in style, recognises the team’s exceptional achievements.

Rainbow Room International has won more than 50 awards, including Scottish Hairdresser of the Year for stylists Suzie McGill and Dylan Brittain at the British Hairdressing Awards in 2011, 2017 and 2018.

Suzie also received a place in the Hall of Fame in 2018 for winning Scottish Hairdresser of the Year category at the awards three times.

Glasgow Times:

Rainbow Room International regularly appear backstage at many of Scotland’s hottest events, including the Scottish Style Awards, Radio 1’s Big Weekend, the Scottish BAFTAs, the MOBOs and TRNSMT.

The team has even starred in its own BBC Scotland TV show, Do or Dye, which followed students as they took their first steps towards becoming Rainbow Room stylists.

Glasgow has a wealth of hairdressing talent and its most famous names, past and present, include Rita Rusk, Ellen Conlin in Hyndland, Alan Edwards and Taylor Ferguson on Bath Street. The latter leads a team of highly trained and experienced stylists in the city and has more than 30 years’ experience at the top of his profession.

Glasgow Times:

Share your memories of Glasgow’s hairdressing scene through the decades.

Did you work in one of the city’s famous salons? Which characters do you recall from your days as a stylist?

Perhaps you stayed loyal to your local barber or hairdresser and have fond memories of going as a child?

We would love to hear your stories.

Write to Ann Fotheringham, Glasgow Times, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB or email ann.fotheringham@glasgowtimes.co.uk